The End of Daylight Saving Time (or Why Can’t Every Day Have 25 Hours?)

by Lynn Schneider

Ten days ago, on November 6, we experienced the end of Daylight Savings Time, an event to be dreaded. Just think of all those clocks that now must be fiddled with. Watches, and alarm clocks, clocks in the car, on the microwave, on the stove, even on the toaster oven. These clocks are meant to be a convenience, though having to remember how to adjust the time on every one of them is a bit of a nuisance. Make that a huge nuisance.

Occasionally, I go into a mini-tirade about why we feel the need to mess with the time.  Why do we bother to “spring forward” at all? There are a lot of reasons to do it, including (but not limited to) better use of energy because an extra hour of light will encourage more outdoor activities, where we don’t go inside and turn on all our electric appliances. This, in turn, leads us to better health, assuming, of course, that we engage in an activity which promotes exercise rather than, say, sitting on the deck having a glass of wine.

In the olden days, it was beneficial to have an extra hour of natural light in the evening, but why didn’t people adjust their schedules rather than change the time so that it coincided with the schedules they had set up? Why didn’t they just get up later in summer (or is that earlier? see how confusing it is?), thus ensuring more hours of daylight during daily activities?

Think of all the confusion the time change creates. All the computer systems that need to accommodate the change, all the babies who must be forced into a different schedule, all the people who forget to tinker with their timepieces and are late for work, or for meetings, or worst of all, an airplane flight. The preceding is but a smattering of inconveniences.

I do like the longer hours of sunlight, but wonder if it’s worth the havoc it creates. This year though, when we returned to Eastern Standard Time, I must admit, I had a great day, a day full of activities, and productivity, with plenty of leisure time too. I got up at the time I would have, but wait, it’s really an hour earlier. So while everyone says you will get an extra hour of sleep when we “fall back”, really we get the same amount of sleep, but an extra hour of time to do good things.

I did my usual stuff in the morning, exercised, went out to lunch with my husband, bought materials for a new knitting project, and worked for four hours on my next novel. It began to get dark, and I thought it must be late, but no, it isn’t late. There’s still plenty of time for everything else. It seemed like a long day, and I got a lot done, and it made me wish every day were like it. If every day could have 25 hours, instead of 24, think of how productive we could all be. As long as that extra hour isn’t wasted sleeping.

I suppose as soon as we had a 25-hour day, we’d need one that was 26. But I enjoyed my 25-hour day. I think I’ll stop complaining about DST. There’s something good about both Spring Forward when we get that extra hour of sunlight in the evenings which to me signifies the beginning of summer, and Fall Back, when we get that one great day that is a little longer than all the others.

About these ads

4 responses to “The End of Daylight Saving Time (or Why Can’t Every Day Have 25 Hours?)

  1. Great post, Lynn! Though living at the 49th parallel as I do, I wish we would just spring forward permanently and leave it at that. The sun is now setting at 4:30 here in Vancouver. I would love another hour of light.

    Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming proposed the present worldwide system of a global 24-hour clock and time zones in the late 1870s, in order to co-ordinate railway time. I curse at him every time we change our clocks back in the Fall. Then Daylight Savings Time was adopted so farmers would have an extra hour of daylight to tend their crops. Why the whole system was not changed at that time is beyond me. I appreciate the lifestyle was different then, but even 100 years ago, one would imagine folks would appreciate more light at the end of their day.

    Perhaps we should do as China has done since the present regime took power. The whole country operates as only one time zone (rather than the 5 they would be under our system). Just kidding. But perhaps some country would have the courage to say, stop this nonsense, and move their clocks to better suit their citizens.

    After 100 years it is time (which we are told is only an illusion anyway, :)) to re-think the whole worldwide time zone thing. And let’s hope someone more forward-thinking than Stanford comes up with the answer…

    • Thanks, Sharon. I did a little research on DST when I did this, and it was interesting. There was a lot of opposition to it back when it was first proposed. One argument went like this: what if twin sons were born and one was born a minute before the clock was to be turned back, then the clocks were turned back, then the second was born, the second would have an earlier birth time than the first, and would interfere with first son property rights. How often would that happen? It didn’t work, and DST became a reality.

  2. Thank you, Lynn, for your thought-provoking and timely (har-har) post. I enjoyed my extra hour on November 6th too, though I didn’t accomplish as much as you did. I love the Old Indian quote.

    But I’m with you, Sharon. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and our days are generally dark and dreary this time of year. The last thing I want is for nighttime to come earlier! I say we should spring forward and leave it that way.